Teaching Aboard Ship: What You Need to Know

By Barbara SeagramCruise Ship icon

Class Handouts/Photocopying

Take notes with you. Most ships do not wish you to make photocopies aboard. Large ships with internet cafes will allow you to print copies there, but expect to pay a hefty per page charge. You could take your files with you (on a stick or a diskette) and print aboard ship. Or you could print in some ports but this may be a challenge. I go a day early and find a printer and make many sets of notes for the ship.

Personally, I hand out a cheat sheet to my students (sorry, but that is what I have called them for years). Make up your own which has a summary of everything they need to know and laminate it. This will serve you well. This cuts down on notes that you have to hand out. I take along copies of my beginner text book and all beginners get these but luggage is truly a killer.


Usually a one hour beginner class per day and a one hour intermediate class. It depends on the cruise line. Usually only on days at sea but if the port is mundane (e.g. Caribbean) you could be asked to be available to run games every afternoon on days at sea. I try to teach on port days also. Sometimes your assistant can teach beginners if the ship does not allow a time slot for you to teach beginners.

Note: If nothing is scheduled, and the itinerary is getting boring for clients, I tell them we will have a class at 2.30 pm that day. The cruise directors love it if you do extra. The clients are happy and you get amazing ratings. A win-win for all.

The Bridge Teacher Aboard

Remember that you are not really a passenger and you are not really crew. The crew see you as crew and essentially, so do the passengers so you have to be on best behavior at all times. They are all watching you. AVOID confrontations and go with the flow. As Gerry Fox says: “You are neither fish nor fowl”. I have learned the hard way not to try to change things. The cruise line does not want to learn a better way to do things from you. You are on stage at all times. Dress well and conduct yourself accordingly on shore and on ship.

Content of Classes

I am wild about teaching defense. They love this topic. All levels love it. These hands (in Lesson 1 and Lesson 2) are all Eddie Kantar’s. He is my hero.